Tuesday, February 21, 2012

BARCA!

 Woot! I just scratched off one of my wish list trips----> BARCELONA! I can officially say "Been there, done that, got the tshirt (and mug, shot glass, scarf, flamenco fan etc.).

So remember those Daddy-Daughter trips I mentioned back on Father's Day!?!? Well it was my sister's turn for a jaunt with Daddy....buttttt being the girl I am (read "EXTRA") I somehow got myself in the mix...next thing ya know I was throwing back my signature rum and coke in preparation for the 8 hour transatlantic flight.

Three movies later (and obviously no sleep) we land in Barcelona! Now let me back track to the night before where we were still deciding on hotels. My Dad, the real jetsetter has been to Spain 4x in less than 2 years soooo clearly I expected him to be the expert on the hot neighbs, right?!?!? So when my internet savvy father suggests bidding on something via Priceline...I'm like bet "lehdoit". Yippppeee, we're booked and Daddy seems to be verrrrry familiar with the area. Now, fast forward to the scene at the airport where we ask for directions to our hotel and all I heard was "30 minutes from the city center" that's treinta minutos del centro de la ciudad en espanol, ya'll!!!  Hmmm how else can I break this down....if you're in NY think White Plains to Manhattan... if you're in Mali think Timbuktu . Yupppppp, so we headed to the 'burbs via public transportation (when in BCN, do as the Catalonians do, right?) For the record, our hotel was nice, just farrrr !

Once we get to our hotel, we only stayed long enough to drop our bags and take a quick shower because when you're only in town for two days...you HAVE to hit the ground running! A tram and train ride later we were back in the heart of the city...and oh the running joke was when we got to street level what did we run into...my Dad's usual stomping grounds!! Of course he usually stays in the one of the hottest areas of Barcelona...*side eye*.

Anyhoo, day 1 we start out on the famous La Rambla- a bustling pedestrian strip filled with vendors, artists, performers and the famous Mercat de la Boqueria. Before I went to BCN, my Dad and friend Marlon had already given me the rundown on how amazing this market is...I now get it and co-sign, I'll let the pictures speak:





Well clearly, all this food inspired hunger so next stop was dinner and there was only one thing I wanted to eat in Barcelona- PAELLA!!!



After dinner, we took in one more sight- La Sagrada Familia. If you're not familiar with the works of Antoni Gaudi, kill yourself! Joookkkinng...if you're not familiar, you have some homework to do ;-)
Day 2, we're up and at 'em bright and early (considering the voyage ahead, gotta get a head start)! We took our mixed bag of transportation and quicker than day 1 we were back in the city. SIDENOTE: when you go to BCN make sure you purchase the T10, it works on the tram, bus and train! With my Starbucks "Mocca Blanc" in hand I was ready to take on our last day (crazy, right). We figured jumping on the tourist bus would be the easiest way to knock a lot of things off our list...such a great idea, you can hop on and off for one flat fee.




After what seemed like a whole day on the tourist bus, we made our final exit and grabbed an early dinner. What did we eat!??! Duuuuhhhh- Paella and let me not forget the Sangria that washed it down! Post dinner, I hit La Rambla to knock out my chotsky shopping, which was almost a test to my negotiation skills ;-)  I couldn't bring myself to purchase an "I LOVE Barcelona" tshirt because at this point, I just wasn't sure how I felt about Barcelona. I mean I love art and Barcelona is just that...surrounded by the sick street fashion, the reminders of Gaudi, Dali and Picasso, eating the yummy food and hell they have CARNIVAL (it was the Thursday after I left boooo), but I just wasn't in love untilllll my Dad insisted on finding this little Jamaican spot he ran into on his last trip.




I think my sister and I were kinda over him and his memory (look where it landed our hotel), yet we played follow the leader and thank GOD we did. What we didn't know was the little side street he was taking us down would lead us to the belly of the Gothic Quarter. Now this is the vibe I was looking for...super cute ,trendy, quaint coffee shops, diversity, public "smoking", juice bars, book stores and fusion restaurants. We passed a local percussion competition anddd I kidd you not we crossed a picket line of a freaking rally against city hall. This is where the PEOPLE were not the tourists or pretentious snots...I felt sooo at home! Honestly, the Gothic Quarter was the single handed thing that made me upgrade Barcelona from "like" to "love". I'm sure that Barcelona is just the tip of the iceberg so I can't wait to go back to Espana to take in Madrid!






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